AGI Top 12 in 2012: The Courage of Malala Inspires Drive for Educational Equality

AGI recaps the highlights of 2012, which we think made an impact and will continue to drive change in the coming years. These highlights and events are picked by AGI editorial team from fields of business, politics and culture across Asia.

The savagery and injustice of the attack by religious extremists on Malala Yousafzai on the 9th of October has led to an unprecedented global outcry and a surge in awareness of the problems still faced by many young girls denied access to even the most basic of primary educations.

The subsequent outpouring of support by campaigners worldwide has guaranteed that the battle to ensure children across
the globe be guaranteed freedom of access to education as a matter of right is to take a centre stage position on the international agenda in coming years. Malala herself has become a global symbol for the struggle.

Following her rise to prominence as the author of a BBC blog detailing life in Pakistan’s swat valley under the grip of Taliban extremists, Malala and her family spent three years leading up to the recent assassination attempt campaigning for a right to education for girls everywhere.

In recognition of her efforts and astonishing bravery under the threat of violence, the UN declared November 10th ‘Malala Day’ – an annual day of action to further the battle she has so eloquently fought, as well as establishing the Malala Education and Anti-Poverty Institute, mandated to campaign for the right to education for all, and the Malala Foundation, intended to provide financial support to at risk girls in order to allow them to complete their education.

These moves are part of the wider UN Secretary General’s Education First initiative. Headed by former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown in his capacity as UN Special Envoy for Global Education, the initiative seeks to ensure that all children presently denied education are able to access, at a minimum, a basic level of primary schooling. Brown has described Malala as a ‘Beacon of hope’ for children without education everywhere.

by Sam Jones

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